While the media is full of noise about the global race for technological supremacy between the US and China, and to some extent the EU, less is known about the role of startups in this struggle. However, when a technology is in the stage of widespread implementation, the incumbents are the engine of development, while the startups could play a crucial role in the (market) discovery and experimentation phase. For instance, Artificial Intelligence is widely regarded as one of the General Purpose Technologies of the 21st century, where the race is influenced by numerous factors, such as the data available to make algorithms work, the digital giants with large user networks, the access to AI talents, the capability to produce AI semiconductors, and the agile startups for disruptive innovation.

Yet, the AI startups are more widely distributed around the world than the battle for global supremacy would suggest. In 2020, the leading economies, that the US, China and the EU together accounted for around 65% of AI startups, and they raised 84% of the total global AI startup funding. Within this triad, however, there were strong differences, and EU startups faced a serious funding gap. In terms of the number of AI startups, the EU had a figure (3,600 startups) comparable to that of the US (4,900). Though, looking at total funding for AI startups, the EU (EUR 11 billion) is an order of magnitude behind the US (EUR 78 billion) and China (EUR 19 billion) has also overtaken the EU.

Taking into account the size of the economies – and normalizing the funding of AI startups with a measure of total funding (in EUR millions) per USD 1 billion of GDP – countries outside the triad are intensively involved. While in the EU the AI startups took EUR 0.7 million per USD 1 billion GDP and in China EUR 1.3 million, the corresponding figures were 2.6 in the UK, 3.1 in Singapore, 3.6 in the US and Israel stood out with more than EUR 15 million per USD 1 billion of GDP.

As this example indicates, the answer to the question of where the US, China and the EU stand in the global race for technological supremacy is not that straightforward. Our panel with top experts from Israel, Poland, the US and the EU will discuss the role of startups plays in this race. How could startup ecosystems keep up with exponentially growing new technologies?


  • Tessa McIver, Head of Alumni Development, MIT Enterprise Forum CEE, Warsaw
  • Yoav Barlev, Director, Business Development, Start-up Nation Central, Tel Aviv
  • Stephen Ezell, Vice president, global innovation policy, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Washington
  • Andy David, Director, Innovation Task Force, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tel Aviv
  • Ramón Compañó, senior scientist, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Seville
  • Danny Biran, policy fellow, Start-up Nation Policy Institute, Tel Aviv

Moderators (MCC Students):

  • Csenge Vörös and József Vecsei


We welcome all those interested!